The Best Five Days!

                           ‘New York; Concrete Jungle where dreams are made of…’                                Shop to you drop, eat until you explode and sight see until your eyes ache.

                                                             28/10/17 – 02/11/17                                                                                                                7 girls, 5 days, 4 nights

When thinking of what to write about for my next blog it appeared obvious- my latest adventure…

As I boarded our direct flight from Dublin to Newark Airport- a number of things circulated in my head. I wonder what New York is like? I wonder if it really is a concrete jungle? Do they actually have yellow taxis like you see in movies? Is it as busy as people make it out to be?

YES. YES. YES. They do!

Even though it is known as ‘The City that Never Sleeps’, it is almost impossible to see New York in 5 days. Even if you lived here for 4 months I still don’t think it would be enough time to actually see it all! I seen quite a lot when I was there and I think I got about 16 hours sleep the whole time!

5 Must Do’s When In New York and 1 Don’t


  1. Shop to you Drop- Jersey Gardens

AMAZING DISCOUNTS AND AMAZING SHOPS. From Tommy Hilfiger to Ralph Lauren to Victoria Secret. This place is amazing! Just remember your passport and you get a book full of discounts and freebie coupons to shop with until your hearts content.


  1. Hop on, Hop off Open Top Bus Tour is best for Sightseeing

A MUST HAVE. ThAR25is bus saved our legs for 5 days! Sounds silly but so true! Buses run basically 24/7 and stop at all of the key tourist attractions, streets and landmarks. Within our package we got four tours; an Uptown, Downtown, Brooklyn and Night time tour as well as entry into two main tourist attractions for $100! It also included the boat over to Statue of Liberty 🙂

Although heights are not my forte, if you would like to observe the whole city from above, the Rockefeller Center and the Empire State building are a must do! If I was to pick one of the two, I would go to the Rockefeller Center as you can see the Empire State building from it and the queues aren’t just as mad! Personally I think it is best to go at night to see                                                        the beautiful view and the millions of lights!

  1. Carlos Bakery & Stardust Diner are AMAZING!

After a fun filled day shopping at Jersey Gardens we stopped off and had a bun and coffee at Carlos Bakery. Carlos Bakery is an attraction in itself with lots of treats and tasty desserts 🙂

Stardust Diner is a must-do also! Ever wanted to feel like you were part of a Broadway show while eating breakfast, lunch or dinner? Have characters from all different Broadway shows dance on the tables and have a singsong while others serve your food on rollerblades?

  1. Tiffanys- Treat Yo Self!AR22

If you are into jewellery and think that you deserve a treat then Tiffanys is definitely a good shout! Although if you are indecisive like me, make sure the company you are with don’t mind waiting as there is an awful lot of amazing jewellery to pick from! 🙂


  1. The Statue of Liberty


The Statue of Liberty is a must-do! (Although hopefully you won’t have the same experience as I had) The Statue of Liberty is bigger than you could ever imagine and a prime spot to get the ultimate insta pic! We stayed on the boat and did not get off as the boat does a loop around the statue and given the short time frame that we were there for we didn’t want to waste any time! It was at the Statue of Liberty on the second last day when we knew that something was wrong…                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        6. 31/10/17 – Halloween Day – 3:30pm – 8 killed, 12 injured                          

We were walking alongside the harbour (shown below) looking for the boat over to the statue when the commotion started. Police, ambulances, helicopters and pedestrians frantically running on the other side of the street. As we spotted the boat we seen the Captain frantically waving and shouting ‘Everyone onboard… last boat, last boat!!!’ It was only 3:30pm… why was it the last boat of the day? Alarm bells started to ring and we started to run onto the boat… as the boat started to leave I looked at my phone- 8 messages from family and friends asking if I was ok and if I was anywhere near the trouble in New York. The attack was breaking news on Sky and was all over different news channels worldwide.AR30

Eight people were killed and more than a dozen injured after a man drove a truck nearly a mile down a bike path in lower Manhattan striking pedestrians, cyclists and a school bus.

After smashing into the school bus, injuring two adults and two children, the 29-year-old suspect exited the truck displaying “imitation firearms”. The suspect was shouting “Allahu Akbar”, Arabic for “God is great”, before he was then shot by police in the stomach. The suspect was arrested, and a paintball gun and a pellet gun were recovered at the scene.

Donald Trump tweeted about the incident: “In NYC, looks like another attack by a very sick and deranged person. Law enforcement is following this closely. NOT IN THE U.S.A.!”

Despite all this, I have already planned another trip back to New York at Christmas, this time to visit a cousin who is going there on placement! Next time I will definitely squeeze in a Broadway Show, a basketball game and a horse and carriage ride around Central Park 🙂


Aimee xo

Aimee Rourke is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be contacted on LinkedIn: 

PR- Out with the Old, In with the New?


Grunig and Hunt developed the idea that PR creates two-way communication between an organisation and its publics… and guess what social media does? The exact same thing!

Why is it so powerful?

Out with the old, in with the new. If you have been faithfully relying on traditional PR tactics, it’s time to change. Maybe not all of your tactics but definitely some of them. It is important that you take a more social approach allowing you to communicate key messages instantly with your stakeholders. The shift from traditional PR to digital PR is continuously and rapidly evolving. It is important that you adapt your PR tactics to meet the demands of this new way of communication. Digital PR tactics enable you as a PR practitioner to communicate and connect with the media and bloggers in a space where they are proactively searching for news and resources. This is a better way of targeting instead of spamming them with chunks of information (like traditional press releases) that they simply do not want or cannot share immediately.

The Changing Landscape of Digital PR

Adapting to the complex world of digital can be daunting. With the rise of social media platforms as key tools for communication, the mediating role played by traditional media between companies and publics has increasingly diminished. Due to the rise in use of social media, it is now the company’s role to monitor individuals feedback and comments 24/7 regarding its products and services online. The company also has primary responsibility to monitor, manage and deal with a crisis in a timely manner in order to protect and save the public image and reputation.

Due to the continuous growth of social media platforms, it is important that you understand what tools to use, how to use them appropriately, and how to measure their effectiveness. The structure of social media presents greater opportunities to reach out to segmented audiences that have been previously ignored or neglected.

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations suggest the importance of understanding the social network landscape. They suggest that the main focus must always be on the communities within their social media platforms whether they are connected through specific interest groups, trusted friendships, similar interests or driven by passions. In this case, it is a prime opportunity for you to connect with and get involved in conversations that are of relevance to your key publics. This then allows you to build relationships, influence further communications and ultimately lead to the end goal of advocacy and trust.

Hints and Tips on the Best Way to use Social Media for PRAR1

  1. Network with journalists; This is a great way to get your company name and products out there and directly cut through the noise, however selection when choosing who exactly to network with should be carefully thought through. Be specific– ensure that the journalists you pick to network with are professionals whose interests are somewhat aligned with your company’s interests. Taking time to establish a strong relationship with key journalists and sharing their articles through your own outlets, creates a solid two-way rapport which benefits both parties long term.
  2. Publish on LinkedIn; LinkedIn is a great way to highlight your client’s experiences, disseminate content, find influences, gain industry insights and connect with new clients. It is a great platform to also discover key media opportunities, identify business opportunities and increase and maximise clients’ media coverage. LinkedIn now offers a publishing platform that you can now share content directly and know that you are targeting the right audience. Why not post content on LinkedIn that you have created for a newspaper article or for an industry publication? LinkedIn is a faster way of reaching your key publics than waiting for traditional media to publish your contribution.
  3. Use social media in your press releases; A great way to extend your reach of your press release with positive news is by sharing it across social media. Press releases posted on your company website should be accompanied with ‘share’ buttons for each social media platform available to make it easy for readers to pass your news on. A great way to maximise your press release coverage is by writing blogs that then link to them. This can be done by using concise messages which can be tweeted with an accompanied image to meet the needs of each preferred social media platform. Imagery and the use of infographics increase a posts appeal for sharing, so be sure to include some of these in your posts too.
  4. Seek bloggers coverage; Blogosphere is the ideal link between social media and PR. Bloggers are actively on social media and many of them are closely monitored by journalists. An easy way to seek blogger coverage is through having your service or product reviewed by them. Whether you’re pro-actively seeking coverage or not, your product or service will most likely be reviewed by followers of the blogger anyway again maximising media coverage and exposure. Free platforms such as Tomoson are available to help you get your product featured on niche blogs. This further increases your chances to be noticed by journalists.
  5. Prepare a Crisis Management Plan in advance; Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. PR disasters can happen at any time and it is disastrous to be caught completely unprepared if and when it does happen. With no plan B, your company could potentially take years to re-establish public trust and brand appreciation again. Having a plan B can help to at least control or manage the situation better. Having a standard press release designed and social media posts planned can minimise stress and impact of the crisis. The best approach to crisis management is a genuine apology signed by a MD or SEO of your company, accompanied by a plan of action to what you are going to do to fix the problem. Whatever the plan, make sure it is accurate, current and seeks approval from management beforehand so that if a crisis does occur your reaction can be quick and save your company’s good reputation to the best of your ability.

Finally, the use of social media can be extremely powerful for getting your key messages out there for product launches to promoting company branding to managing public relations campaigns. Social media efforts can be tracked and analysed through viewing their analytics which can then be tweaked and changed to be even more effective next time. Ensure that social media is incorporated into your PR campaign from the start to maximise the effectiveness of raising awareness of key messages to your key publics.

Through using the hints and tips above, your company’s PR effectiveness will instantly improve. Out with the old and in with the new.


Aimee Rourke is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be contacted on LinkedIn: 


Bog Run Fun

Ever heard of charity starts at home? I was one of the 350 bog runners who took part in a fun-filled adventure around Castlewellan Forest Park. On the 8th of October, it was time to get absolutely boggin’!!!

Bogs, swampy mud, bridges, underground tunnels, forests, lakes? Swam, ran, waddled? We did it all!


I recently started a part time job in a local café- ‘The Oakley Fayre’. When I started, the team were in the middle of organising a sponsored bog run for charity. The charity was ‘Cancer Fund for Children’.

We all live in a world where we think ‘oh it’ll never happen to me’. Every week in Northern Ireland three children or young people are diagnosed with cancer. Shocked? So was I… Together as a team, we managed to raise £1654 for Cancer Fund for Children.


So who exactly are they?

Cancer Fund for Children is the leading local charity that provides practical, emotional and financial support to children and young people aged 0 to 24 affected by cancer and their families. They offer free therapeutic short breaks to families from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland at Daisy Lodge in Newcastle Co. Down and self-catering breaks at Pine, Birch and Oak Cottages in Coleraine. Their team of specialists offer support basically anywhere- at home, in the community, on the hospital ward, in their short break facility and during residential breaks at their purpose-built Narnia log cabin. The Cancer Fund for Children charity understands the impact cancer has on the whole family. They support children who have been diagnosed with cancer as well as their siblings and parents. They also offer support to children whose parent has been diagnosed with cancer.

Why are Cancer Fund for Children needed so much?

Every week in Northern Ireland, another three children, teenagers or young adults, aged between 0-24 years old, are diagnosed with cancer.  Cancer Fund for Children understands the devastating impact a cancer diagnosis and treatment can have on the whole family and that beyond the essential clinical care there is a family life that needs to be rebuilt, supported and guided. The team of experienced specialists at Cancer Fun for Children help families cope with the impact cancer has on their lives and they support them throughout life, both during and after treatment, and sadly in some cases, bereavement.

Why not get involved or donate?


The children and families that the charity support are at the heart of everything they do. It is up to us in the public to continue to donate a bit of  time out of our hectic lifestyles to step back and think ‘one day this could be me facing this horrific illness?’ or ‘it could be someone I love and care about that it happens to’. With this in mind, there are various ways in which we can donate to this amazing charity that is in the heart of our homes in Northern Ireland. 

Cancer Fund for Children organise a wide range of different events that you can get involved in. There is anything from ‘Winter Woolly Walks’ to ‘Funsie in a Onesie’ workdays. Click here to check out their website to get involved in some of the events for this amazing cause.

Alternatively if you don’t have enough time to take part in an event, you can simply donate via telephone on 028 9080 5599 or via their website by clicking here.

Struggling through the final freezing cold lake…
and FINALLY over the finish line!











Check out this short video below to see exactly what the bog run entailed… why not give it a go yourself?

Aimee Rourke is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be contacted on LinkedIn: 

The Most Challenging Yet Rewarding Year So Far

Full-time placement or final year at uni? Which is more stressful? If you are anything like me, I worry before the issue has even occurred or before there is any need to worry.

Whilst searching for ideas and a little inspiration I had no idea what to write my first blog post about… the first idea that sprung to mind was obvious- placement year. I recently completed a 12 month marketing placement with Randox Laboratories- a global leader in healthcare diagnostics worldwide. This to date has been one of the most challenging yet beneficial years so far in my career.

Randox is based in Crumlin in County Antrim. When I first applied for the post I was unsure exactly where it was but on the UUJ portal it said ‘Belfast’ so I went for it anyway. Turns out it was a 100 mile round trip from home every day. Nevertheless I tried not to let this put me off- the early mornings of a 6:30am start and not returning home until 7pm were well worth it in the long run.

On placement, I was assigned the role of Marketing Executive under the division of Randox Quality Control. Within the Randox QC team, there was six people- my Marketing Manager, three Marketing Executives including myself, a QMS Product Specialist and a Graphic Designer. I loved my placement at Randox as I got real hands-on, in depth experience and had the opportunity to get involved in practically anything I felt that I needed to know more about. From Day 1, I was treated as part of the team. I made life-long friends and unbelievable contacts that will put me in good stead for when I graduate.Aimee

So what advice would I give to someone doing their placement year?      

5 Top Tips for Surviving Placement Year                  

  1. Breathe; You are not alone, every single other person in your office was once a newbie too. Everyone finds it hard to adapt to change, it is ok to feel afraid at first as after a few days this will soon wear off.
  2. Embrace it and stay organised; Embrace your first full time adult job. With your tasks increasing hourly and deadlines that need to be met, it is important that you stay ahead of the game. Simple things like keeping a diary with tasks that need to be met and ranking them in order of priority is something extremely beneficial that can help you stay on track.
  3. Step out of your comfort zone; Take every opportunity that is thrown at you. Attend team meetings, suggest new ideas and get involved! In such a professional setting, sometimes it can be hard to make the initial step- maybe you are afraid of taking the risk or afraid of getting embarrassed but put yourself out there and get involved!
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when needed; Full time employment may focus much more on independent learning than university or school ever did but never be afraid to ask! That is what placement year is for. Your manager does not expect you to be an absolute genius but showing your initiative to seek guidance is more commendable than taking forever to complete a task for you to get it wrong anyway!
  5. Become a human sponge; Placement year is the best time to learn as much as you can. If a colleague is using a new social media platform, contacting a PR agency or using a new software that you aren’t familiar with yet, ask if you can listen in. The more you learn and the more you get from your placement year, the better 🙂

Have fun,

Aimee xo



Aimee Rourke is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be contacted on LinkedIn: